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Moeller Basketball Rolls Into the State Tournament

March 11, 2014
Cincinnati Moeller High School

Scott Springer, Cincinnati Enquirer

Moeller Basketball Rolls Into the State Tournament

EVANSTON – Back for their yearly tournament appearances at Xavier University, the Moeller High School boys basketball team took care of business as they have all but one time during the 2013-14 season.

Against the Fairborn Skyhawks March 8, coach Carl Kremer’s Crusaders won 55-43 even though their top scorer didn’t have a basket. Faced with a box-and-one, senior Grant Benzinger instead ran around trying to get others open while grabbing seven rebounds.

“This is where Grant’s grown up,” Kremer said. “The teams are investing everything in taking him out. All the guys are stepping up and getting opportunities.”

Watching Fairborn blanket Benzinger, Kremer and company knew that other Crusaders were getting open looks at the basket. Senior Nate Fowler had his usual high percentage game with 22 points and fellow seniors Adam Gigax, Jack Anton and Tre’ Hawkins also delivered.

Gigax had a pair of first-half treys and finished with 14 points, Anton had eight points and seven boards and Hawkins eight points with four assists.

While happy with the output of his other four starters, Kremer beamed over his shooting guard who had missed all four of his attempts.

“It’s a team game and nobody realizes that more than Grant,” Kremer said.

Moeller’s one blemish during the season was a 60-56 loss to Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) back in December.

Most everything else has been a rout, prompting Kremer to claim the squad had the best regular season of any team he’s headed up.

“We’re not in it for style points and we’re not trying to see how much we can win by,” Kremer said. “The only thing we want to do is get to practice the next day.”

The 2014 Crusaders are led by Benzinger, who usually hits around 17 points per game and will play at Wright State. Junior 6-foot-9 center Nate Fowler is also a Division I talent averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds. Anton is 6-foot-8 and hits around 11 points and six rebounds, with point guard Hawkins and 6-foot-6 Gigax capable of racking up stats as they proved against Fairborn.

So, is this Moeller’s best team?

“We’re not the fastest team in the world, but we’ve got some chemistry and we’ve got some basketball IQ,” Kremer said.

Obviously, a state title must accompany that honor as it did the teams of 1999, 2003 and 2007.

Included on the 1999 squad was Mike Monserez (Butler) and Matt Sylvester (Ohio State). Four years later, the 2003 champs had maybe the most talent, according to those close to the program, with Josh Duncan (Xavier), Andrew Brackman (North Carolina State), Bubba Walther (Ohio University), Ryan Childress (Tennessee) and Tyler Dierkers (Miami University).

Seven years ago, the 2007 Crusaders also had Division I players like Troy Tabler (Wright State) Quinn McDowell (William & Mary) and Michael Davenport (St. Bonaventure).

After the Fairborn win, Kremer clarified his position.

“I think what they’ve accomplished in the regular season matches up with any team I’ve ever had,” Kremer said. “Their goals aren’t about the regular season. It’s about beyond.”

Moeller plays Middletown March 12 at Cintas Center.



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